Washington, Feb 1 : A senior commander of the al Qaeda, Abu Laith Al-Libi, has been killed in Pakistan, a western media has claimed.
According to the CNN, "a knowledgeable Western official and an unnamed military official" has said that the 41-year-old Libyan, who was active in operational planning and training of the al Qaeda was killed in Pakistan.
The US official said that Al-Libi was "not far below the importance of the top two al Qaeda leaders" - Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
Al-Libi was the third-ranking terrorist in the al Qaeda and the fourth in the world and was placed on the US military's most wanted list in 2006.
Referring to a missile strike in North Waziristan on Monday, a foreign news agency said that a website used by militant groups carried a statement on behalf of the Al-Fajr, the al Qaeda's media wing, saying "he (Al-Libi) was martyred with a group of his brothers in the land of Muslim Pakistan."
"We congratulate the Islamic nation for the martyrdom of the sheik, the lion, Abu Laith Al-Libi," the Daily Times quoted the banner, as saying.
As the banner was posted on Ekhlaas (the website's name) by a Webmaster of the forum, it seems as if the announcement of his death has been confirmed to the forum administrators.
A US military official with the Combined Joint Task Force-82, the anti-terror unit responsible for searching for Libi in Afghanistan, however, said that he had no information on Al-Libi's death.
The Pakistani Interior Ministry officials have not confirmed Al-Libi's death and were "still trying to gather details on the missile strike".
"We have no information of his killing," a foreign news agency quoted Pakistani Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema, as saying.
According to the Pakistani intelligence officials, a missile hit a compound in a village about 2.5 miles outside Mir Ali in North Waziristan late on Monday or early on Tuesday.
The residents of the area said they were not allowed to approach the site of the blast and the Pakistan Government and military said they did not know who fired the missile.
A Pakistani intelligence official said that Al-Libi was based in the North Waziristan's Norak village until late 2003.